December has started. Some notes on the day. Somehow blending affirmation and surprises.
My heart is filled with joy. Diane and I, not living in Oregon or Washington, wanted to bring the Northwest to our Leander, Texas home this Advent and Christmas. We succeeded. Sitting now by our French Doors to the fireplace in the courtyard is our Christmas Tree. Not any Christmas tree. It’s a Noble Fir. Oh, my, what incredible luck. We found one…perfect for us…at Home Depot. Yeah! Not sure our kids, Faith, Caleb and Copper can figure it out. But, hey, they don’t look interested enough to chew. So far, so good. We’ll have our grandsons help with the ornaments. Yes! Then. Looking at the Noble Fir, not misnamed in my lifetime, I thought about Christmas in Portland, as mother and father and my sister, Marilyn opened presents, the Noble Fir looking over us. Maybe even slapping its branches for the special time. Please don’t tell me they didn’t!
A confession. I’m not a fan of Costco. Did I spell that right? Thought it was for bulk purchases. I’m wrong. We decided to check it out. What a mistake I made. Not for families large. For values great. We now have our Costco cards. Change is with us. I’m pleased for this step. Really pleased.
About a month ago I was asked to visit the last charter member of the church I’m now serving as preacher and pastoral care guy. It was to Corinne Ingram Parker, 98 years old. I was advised her best time was late morning. So, 10:30 I arrived. Honestly, I cannot remember a visit with someone who’s 21 years older than I but connected as if I were 21 years older than she. No details, other than a joy to visit, to answer questions, “Yes, I can dance.” And “yes I like bridge.” When I left she asked for a prayer. She stood up, with help. I prayed as well as I could. She squeezed my hand, “Pastor, please bless me.” I put my hand on her forehead for a benediction. “I’m ready,” she whispered and winked, her self-declaration. She died a few days ago; we had her funeral celebration Thursday. It was a wonderful affirmation, of a lady who was gracious and sweet and stern. When Corinne asked something, in her way, it was never a question. You did it! Such a joy to meet her. As I told the hundreds gathered yesterday, “I bet. I bet no one has known Corinne shorter than I. But, my 40 minutes made it clear…such a gracious and vibrant lady. In fact, I asked if I could give her ‘Vibrancy’ as an additional middle name? She didn’t decline.”
Two more dynamics. I had not thought of beginning a new novel since we returned to Austin in April of 2015. Then, the trigger got pulled. I read the recent novel by Harlan Coben. How exciting. It grabbed me. Sat down. No clear content or direction. The first paragraph, then it flowed. Am really pumped about the writing a new novel now…it’s called “Truth Uncovered.” Triggered in part by the recent #METOO, and some experiences with other clergy, some of which…well, it’s fiction with truth stretched, at least for the most part. My buddy, Tricia Gleason, is again trying to decide which hat, fishing guide, detective or pastor. She wears all three…until… But, no, I’ll stop with that. Am now more than half-way. Know who’s responsible for the two homicides and think I know where the two women who disappeared are. And, as for Tricia. Oh my, she’s found romance. Well, it’s more than that, maybe even R rated. Will see how all this develops.
Then, last but probably first. In a few days I’m headed to Seattle, then to Forks. Time to do some casting, some bobber watching, and when it dips, sometimes even plunges, set the hook and watch the river explode and see the winter steelhead do its best ballet moves above the river.
Yep, am excited. Can you tell? And. Very grateful living a life not even close to boredom.
No less, send only blessings as we light our first Advent Candle tomorrow and know the light shines in the darkness and breaks it into a million pieces. And that, friends, is so much more than preacher-speak.